The Book of Proverbs
Rector’s Weekly Letter to the Congregation for Sunday, August 11, 2019
The Book of Proverbs
The book of Proverbs is the twentieth book of the Bible. It has 31 chapters and 915 verses. Proverbs is a pack of wisdom on how to live a godly life on earth whatever circumstances one finds oneself in. According to the Bible, the godly life is the only life worth living and is the life human beings were created to live. Anything short of it is utter folly and is not worth living. As it is stated in 1:4, the book of Proverbs was written to give “insight to the simple, and knowledge and discernment to the young” (NLT). The older people are expected to have already acquired this guidance, mainly from their parents, and are expected to be living in it actively and helping to impart it to the young generation. But they too, the wise, are encouraged to listen to the Proverbs so as to become wiser (1:5).
The Proverbs are not formulas to apply mechanically to every situation and get the desired result. This is true of all proverbs and sayings of the wise everywhere. For example, there’s the adage, work hard and eat like a king. Well, it is indeed advisable to work hard, always, and not to be lazy. But as to whether working hard necessarily means being able to get the means to eat like a king, without exception, is not a defensible statement. There are people who work hard and yet can hardly put food on the table for their families. Yet it is wise to always work hard in whatever circumstances we are in. Human beings were created to work. What is to be borne in mind is that the behavior taught by a Proverb does not necessarily guarantee the favorable outcome attached to the behavior, but still the individual is to go on and practice the good behavior, nonetheless.
The Proverbs in the book of Proverbs were authored by various persons. The authors are identified by either a clear statement at the beginning of a section, giving the name of the author, or a superscription at the beginning of the set of Proverbs. The authors are identified as follows:
- Proverbs 1–9: Proverbs of Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel
- Proverbs 10–22:16: Proverbs of Solomon
- Proverbs 22:17–24:22: The Words of the Wise
- Proverbs 24:23–34: More Sayings of the Wise
- Proverbs 25–29: More Proverbs of Solomon which the Men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied
- Proverbs 30: The Words of Agur
- Proverbs 31:1–9: The Words of King Lemuel
- Proverbs 31:10–31: The Woman Who Fears the Lord
Proverbs is not written in an orderly fashion with a definite plot that can be traced throughout the book. The sense of one proverb can be found repeated in another proverb or proverbs elsewhere. The book’s purpose of imparting wisdom for living life wisely is carried out through wise sayings all aimed at the intention of the book. The Proverbs cover a wide range of human situations, responsibilities, and relationships, offering advice on how to conduct oneself, warnings, and instructions. The book cannot be summarized in any intelligible way that would do justice to its great message to human beings.
According to the book of Proverbs, the wise human being is the godly human being. The book uses masculine pronouns, but its message is for both men and women, although some sections are addressed specifically to males, such as the warning against an immoral woman (7:7 – 27). The character of a wise person is marked by the following:
He is teachable, not intransigent or iron-willed. Instead, he loves instruction and correction. He is self-controlled and not impetuous or reckless. He is forgiving and not vengeful. He lives with goodwill in his heart towards other human beings. He fears and trusts the Lord. He voluntarily chooses to walk in the way of wisdom which is the godly way. He is humble and not proud. He respects and listens to his parents and brings them honor and joy by being wise, righteous, hardworking, and persistent to achieve a high standard of doing things. He cherishes his wife and sees her as a gift from God and as his own crowning glory. He praises her, trusts her, and is faithful to her. He is gentle and peaceable. He desires peace to be the norm of life. He is loveable. He loves his children and trains them to prepare them for their own future wellbeing, and more.
Enjoy reading Proverbs.
WHAT ANGLICANS BELIEVE
The Anglican Catechism (ACNA)
The catechism is a question and answer format of teaching the basic principles of the Christian faith. The catechism is not meant just to be memorized by rote. Rather, it is meant to be discussed, reflected upon, internalized, and allowed to form us. I urge every family to take the time to study the catechism at home, discussing it word for word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, without passing over any statement that is not understood or is unclear. Parents, please take the lead to teach your children and to anchor them in the Christian faith. Let everyone ask questions and get answers. Please write down any questions that arise in your discussions, questions you cannot answer locally, and pass them to the Rector. May the Holy Spirit guide your learning.
(Continued from last week…)
ARTICLE II: FAITH IN CHRIST
BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY SON”
49. Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the eternal Word and Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He took on human flesh to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the only Mediator between God and fallen mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 1:14; 14:6; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
50. What does “Jesus” mean?
“Jesus” means “God saves” and is taken from the Hebrew name Yeshua or Joshua. In Jesus, God has come to save us from the power of sin and death. (Matthew 1:21)
51. What does “Christ” mean?
Christos is a Greek word meaning “Anointed One.” Old Testament kings, priests, and prophets were anointed with oil. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to perfectly fulfill these roles and he rules now as God’s prophet, priest, and king over his Church and all creation. (Acts 10:38)
52. Why is Jesus called the Father’s “only Son?”
Jesus alone is God the Son, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He alone is the image of the invisible Father, the one who makes the Father known. He is now and forever will be incarnate as a human, bearing his God-given human name. The Father created and now rules all things in heaven and earth “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-5; John 1:18)